Women: We Need To Talk
We must have been about sixteen or seventeen. A Friday or Saturday night. My best friend and I out on the town. A car full of guys started following us. I can’t remember how long it went on, but at some point we pulled into the parking lot of our local Burger King. So did they. We got out, they got out. They started to approach us. And that’s when I went off on them.
I am quite soft-spoken, but when provoked, I roar. That night I roared at them. Of course I was then the crazy bitch. Never mind that they’d been following us unabashedly for miles, trying to get our attention. Never mind that there four or five of them and only two of us. Never mind that together we probably weighed less than one of them. Fortunately, crazy scares just about everyone. They went away.
Over the weekend, Twitter exploded with women’s reaction to the ramblings of Elliot Rodger, who was responsible for the shootings near UC Santa Barbara on Friday. With #yesallwomen , women all over the world let guys in on a secret that all of us keep. It’s about time we talked about it, so I’m talking about it.
These things happened to me:
- As a preteen, I was cornered or surrounded in our community pool on numerous occasions by a group of boys who grabbed at me while I furiously fought back – all in full view of everyone there.
- I cannot recall many elementary school recesses where I was not running around the playground, trying to escape boys who tried to grope and grab at me while the teachers watched.
- In third grade I was dragged into the classroom closet by a boy who groped me as I fought my way out. The teacher was out of the room.
- As a teen, I was followed home from the corner store on several occasions, once by a group of preadolescent boys who followed me around the store, then hopped on their bikes to follow me when I left the store.
- I had virtually no dates in high school, although I had many guy friends. All because I was a “nice” girl. I was not asked to prom.
- Several of those friends went to my college. As soon as they knew I was not a virgin, all but one tried to get me into bed.
- Twice in college I woke up to a guy’s hand someplace it shouldn’t have been. I never had sex with either of them.
- I had a stalker for a while. He recently attempted to contact me on Facebook.
- I had a relationship with an abusive guy. We weren’t together long enough of him to abuse me; he dumped me when he couldn’t break me down and isolate me.
- I have been catcalled, whistled at, verbally and physically harassed many times.
- I have repeatedly told a man I wasn’t interested in (dancing, dating, talking to) him, only to have him continue to pursue me, then ultimately call me a bitch.
- Recently a man tried to chat me up after he dialed my number by mistake. He liked that I was nice about the wrong number, but became belligerent and rude when I wouldn’t go out with him, even after I told him I was married. He questioned why I even talked to him.
These are the ones that stick out; there are more that I don’t recall. I’m not traumatized by any this. These things were annoyances to me, like a fly buzzing around my head. The cost of doing business, of being a woman. It didn’t bother me because I thought it was normal, expected even.
Along the way, I’ve found some of the good guys; my college boyfriend, my husband, quite a few friends. As wonderful as they are, they don’t know that things like this happen to us all the time. But they should. Because many of them are fathers. We need to talk about this, ladies. We need to talk a lot, no matter what the assholes say to try to stop us.
If you’re a guy, I recommend checking out the #yesallwomen hashtag. And following @everydaysexism. You’ll be surprised. And hopefully disgusted. We need you to know this, to understand.
I”m telling my story, and I’m calling out women bloggers everywhere to tell their stories. Because this shouldn’t be a secret anymore.
It’s time to roar.
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